Last night was a rough night in our house. Jack would not go to bed. I started his usual bedtime routine at the normal time and by the time his regular "down" time came, he was wide awake. I waited and waited and waited and yet, he would not go to sleep (I rock him to sleep, I know, bad mom). At 8:00, I was so sick to my stomach from not eating that I had to put him down.
I knew it wouldn't take me more than 10 minutes to make something to eat and then eat, but still, I felt guilty. I didn't want him to cry that long but I had no choice. I had to eat otherwise, I was going to throw up.
Down in his crib he went and I was right, he cried. He was not a happy camper. I ate fast to try and limit the amount of time he cried and when I finally went in to pick him up, he was red faced. Secretly, I was hoping that he wouldn't cry the entire time and would lay down and go to sleep, but who am I kidding?
I tried again to rock him to sleep and no dice. So I then took him to bed with me. 9:00 came around and once again, I was sick. I had a toddler kicking me in the stomach and needed to rest. I couldn't get comfortable in bed.
What to do?
I made the hard choice and put him back in his crib. I very gently told him that "It's time to go night-night. Mommy loves you" and then I put him down. Once again, he cried. I layed down in misery and listened to him cry. This time, he wasn't hysterical. He was just annoyed. I am not 100% certain how long he cried, but I think it was about 15 minutes. Half the time he was quiet. He would get quiet for 3 or 4 minutes and then go "waaaaaah" and then be done with it.
I don't know how long this went on because I fell asleep. Now, you need to understand that I ALWAYS wake up when he cries, so I am pretty sure he went to sleep before I did.
Why do I feel guilty? Because I said I would NEVER do cry it out. Last night, I truly had no choice and I still feel guilty. Was he going to remember in the morning? Was he going to hate me? Is he going to be afraid of his crib?
He woke up as happy as normal. Smiling and playing. I still feel bad but I know he needs to learn to self-soothe. He's 16 months and still hasn't slept through the night. With a new baby coming, I cannot have a toddler in bed with me. I remember how uncomfortable I was with my last pregnancy and the thought of having a toddler in bed with me makes me more scared.
So what to do? Tonight, as much as it kills me, I am going to rock him almost to sleep and put him down in his crib drowsy. If he cries, I will go in every 5 minutes and comfort him but not pick him up.
I know a lot of people are hating this post right now, but you need to understand, he is old enough to have established sleep patterns. I can't continue on like this much longer, and neither can my husband. This is a hard choice for many reasons, but we will try this.
I am not going to let him get hysterical. If I feel he's reaching that point, I will pick him up. I know that I will still feel guilty. I probably will for quite some time.
Will this work? I don't think it will, but at this point, it's worth a try.